Yesterday the children got the dishes done and the daily housecleaning done in a hurry, so I took them to the ocean. We only have about a 15-minute drive to Gore Bay. We spent about an hour there. It was too cold to play in the water, so they played in the sand while I read stories. The waves were really high yesterday, and we got to watch a few surfers for awhile.
We are convinced that we have the most beautiful route in the world to travel to church. We decided to get some pictures of the highlights along the way, and the weather today cooperated beautifully–bright and sunny on the way in the morning, and clearing again on our way home. We travel about 70 kilometers (about 43 miles) from Cheviot to Kaikoura every Sunday, and it takes us about an hour. The route varies from rolling hills to rugged hills to seacoast.
So, what do you think? Do we have any rivals? I’d like to see your route, if it’s anywhere near as beautiful as yours!
The boys found clay out in one of the paddocks this week. Actually it’s been there for a year or so, ever since our landlord drilled a new well for irrigation. Yesterday they brought some over to the house and started molding things from it, and they really got creative today. Simon wrote his story for our homeschool writing group meeting Tuesday, tonight, about making a clay cup. Here are just a few pictures of their creativity. It has kept them occupied for literally hours! They end up a mess, but it washes out.
Today on our way home from church we stopped on the south side of the Kaikoura Peninsula, called South Bay, to fill a couple of jugs with seawater. The rocks there are extremely jagged, and the layers are at various angles, some curved. What a fascinating sight! There wasn’t much sea life, although I did see a lot of sea anemones open. The tide was coming in, and the water came obviously higher during the half an hour we were there playing on the rocks. The bigger boys were wearing their crocs, so they were able to walk in the water. Joe wanted too, also. Even though he had his church shoes on he ran through the water when we weren’t watching. We must find his crocs and keep them in the van!
Yesterday was Esther’s birthday, and she requested hamburgers for supper. We happened to find a recipe for Homemade Hamburger Buns on a blog, so decided to try it out. They turned out to be easy and delicious–the best homemade hamburger buns I’ve ever had! We did use some white flour in them, due to a misunderstanding about which bag of flour to use.
We decided that today was the day to bring the cow home. She’s been in a neighbor’s paddock, about 600 meters (a little over 1/3 mile) down the road. They had grass going to waste and offered it to us. About six weeks ago we put the cow and her grown calf down there, and have been walking down to check on them a few times a week. The past week, we’ve checked on them every day, as she is getting closer to her due date. Well, that day is tomorrow, and she’s looking close! This afternoon, after school was finished and house was cleaned up, the whole crew went with me to fetch Chestnut. She’s very calm, and leads extremely well, especially considering how wild she was when we first got her a little over a year ago! Now, she’s trying to figure out where her daughter is, just wandering around the enclosure we put her in. We’re hoping for a new calf tomorrow or the next day!
I love having all my helpers around–but it’s awfully nice to have peace and quiet at times, too! This morning, Joe got up at 5:00 when I was packing Gayle’s lunch. I don’t blame him; the bedrooms are totally unheated and not much warmer than the wintry out-of-doors; he probably got cold when I left the bed. He went back to sleep on the couch, though, pretty soon, and I had an hour and a half alone. After my quiet time, exercises, hanging laundry in the living room, and computer time while brushing my hair, I was actually able to get three items off the mending pile, and have a bit of time with Elijah, who likes to get up at 6:30-7:00. Now it’s time to get everyone else up and get on with our busy, noisy, (hopefully) productive day!
On our way home from church today, we stopped along the coast to fill our jugs with seawater (we evaporate it on the woodstove to make salt). The waves were wild today, so it was challenging to get the water. I got soaked when a particularly large one caught me by surprise. What ended up working best was when Simon filled our drink thermos with water and handed it to Seth, who handed it to me, and I poured it into the jugs. We found a deepish spot under a boulder that was partially sheltered from the force of the waves, to fill the thermos in.
After the jugs were full, I got in the van to try to warm up, but Gayle and the boys walked around and explored the area a bit. Several of my boys brought me beautiful little flowers–I have no idea what they are. After awhile, Gayle came back saying, “You really have to come see this!” So, Esther and I went where they were. We were surprised–there were seals (New Zealand Fur Seals) all over on the other side of the rocks from where we had been getting water! There were a lot of babies, and some bigger ones. They were on top of rocks as high as a two-story building–how they get up there is a mystery to me! We also got to watch some swimming in the waves.
The activity this afternoon was dicing and bottling carrots. I like to have carrots in jars, ready to dump into soups or casseroles, so when I go to town I often buy a 10- or 20-kilo bag of carrot seconds, then fill jars with them and process for 25 minutes at 10 pounds pressure in the pressure cooker. This morning, Esther and I peeled what was left in the 10-kilo bag we got a couple of weeks ago (I had already used several handfuls). This afternoon, I got started dicing them and had Elijah find lids for the jars. Seth wanted to help, so he filled jars, and then Simon and Elijah started cutting them up, too. James got in on the act before we were done, as well. Seth filled the jars with water for me and put on the lids. I just remembered that we didn’t make sure the rims were clean. Oh, well. If they don’t seal, I need carrots for soup tomorrow anyway. It was a lovely time of working together happily! Gayle was in the kitchen, too; he was preparing some pig’s heads for cooking into brawn (like headcheese). We decided that wasn’t too photogenic, though.